Just When Stories by Edited by Tamara Gray

(9.0/10) Nineteen stories of the highest quality.

Book of the Year 2010 (see all)

In 1902 Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Little Children – a collection of tales themed upon mankind’s detrimental effect on the animal kingdom – was published. 108 years later, with wildlife now in more danger than ever before, nineteen of the world’s finest authors have came together to write the Just When Stories, an anthology inspired by Kipling which re-emphasis the plight of endangered species around the world whilst raising awareness with those who will shape the planet’s future – the children. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to WildAid and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s campaign to fight the illegal wildlife trade.

The publications of Just When Stories comes at a time when children’s literature is in great shape. It is fortunate enough to possess some of the most talented authors whose main objective appears to be to entertain and educate – not to preach. And this is exactly what comes across in this collection, it does not tell the reader what they should be doing, it presents the harsh facts and allows the reader to respond with the actions and thought that they deem suitable. The nineteen authors featured in Just When Stories have all provided new stories of the highest quality, all asking the same question: when will the irrational and cruel destruction of wildlife stop? And when will we take action to make it stop?

Amongst the many highlights are Michael Morpurgo’s return to Rushy Bay – the setting of best-selling When the Whales Came – in Extract from the Wreck of Zanzibar and Anthony Doerr’s tale of grief, faith and fishing in Lithuania, The Nemunas. But it is Jin Pyn Lee’s And the Dolphin Smiled that really stands out, and this is all the more remarkable as it is only three and a half pages in length and a perfect example of how so much can be said in so few words.

“Once, where the river met the ocean full of yellow, red, orange and blue, there lived a dolphin and a boy.
Everyday the dolphin and the boy would play.
They would tell each other stories of the world as they saw it in their own ways”
An extract from And the Dolphin Smiled by Jin Pyn Lee

Another nice thing about the Just When Stories is that it also includes a short story from 15 year old Alice Newlitt, the winner of the Just When Competition. Hers is story about a rare Indian pink-headed duck and it stands proudly and deservedly alongside the works of the other 18 established authors.

The Just When project has been created and managed by Tamara Gray, a campaigner against the illegal trade in endangered species since 1990. She realises that it is the children who will have the power to change this world for the better and this is why this book may have such far-reaching effects.

Their are many good reasons why you should buy this book, not least that is an excellent read but also because all the proceeds will go to such a good and worthy cause. If you are wondering what to get your son/daughter, niece/nephew,  grandson/granddaughter for Christmas this year then this would make a perfect gift. Highly recommended.

The authors who contributed to this collection are: William Boyd, Raffaella Barker, Anthony Doerr, Nirmal Ghosh, Romesh Gunesekera, Witi Ihimaera, Radhika Jha, Hanif Kureishi, Antonia Michaelis, Michael Morpurgo, Jin Pyn Lee, Lauren St John, Kate Thompson, Nury Vittachi, Polly Samson, Shaun Tan, Louisa Young and Angela Young.

If you would have these stories read to you then you will soon be available including readings from David Tennant, Martin Jarvis, Hugh Bonnerville, Romola Garai and Eddie Redmayne.

The Just When project has been created and managed by Tamara Gray, a campaigner against the illegal trade in endangered species since 1990. For more information, visit www.justwhen.org.

Just When Stories
448 pages
Beautiful Books (19 Aug 2010)
ISBN-10: 1905636202
ISBN-13: 978-1905636204

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